Sunday, 28 February 2016


Starring: Casey Affleck, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Anthony Mackie, Aaron Paul, Clifton Collins, Jr. Woody Harrelson and kate Winslet.

Written by Matt Cook, directed by John Hillcoat. Budget $20 million, running time 115 minutes long.

A gang of professional bank robbers stage a daring daylight robbery and get away with a security deposit box and a bag's worth of notes all bundled up with dye bombs, which leave the crimbos literally red in the face when they go off, but that's the least of their worries! You see the gang did the bank job for a horrifically vicious Jewish Russian crime family lead by Kate Winslet and rather than pay the gang the money for the job, Kate has a member of the gang killed as an incentive to the rest to do 'just one last job' – this time a raid on a Homeland Security facility to retrieve a file that will get Kate's husband out of prison. To further complicate matters, the gang has two crooked cops among its number and one of those cops has a new partner in the guise of Casey Affleck, whose uncle, Woody Harrelson is investigating the bank job! What are the odds?

Anyway, the gang realise that the only way to pull off the new heist is to kill a cop thus triggering a 'Triple Nine', which will send all the cops in the city heading in the wrong direction to investigate thus giving them a clear shot at robbing the facility. Confused? You won't be as this film explains everything, slowly plodding along from one grim plot point to the next.

This film has three very well shot and exciting action sequences, one in each of its aching formulaic three act structure. The opening bank job, which is without doubt very exciting, the mid-way gun battle in a housing project and the final assault on the Homeland facility. In between those we're treated to one relentlessly bleak scene after the other as characters meet to pout and moan and occasionally beat each other up. None of these characters is remotely likeable, and the only character we can barely root for is Casey Affleck's cop, just arrived in the division and teamed up with Anthony Mackie who, would you believe it, doesn't rate his new partner at all, that is until he proves himself in the heat of an incredible gun battle.

But don't go expecting a film anywhere as good as Michael Mann's far superior movie, 'Heat'  because you'll be sorely disappointed. There's really nothing to recommend this nasty, bitter-tasting trawl through the underbelly of Atlanta, Georgia's underworld, just one brutal scene of ugly people being unbelievably beastly to other ugly people. Which is a shame because this is a cast to die for, a cast of terrific actors and actresses who are let down by a brooding, grim script that portrays them as nothing more stereotypes.

Indeed, as soon the film introduces its characters it's time for the plot and a game of Crime Movie Bingo where you can tick off all the tropes and plot points before they happen. For example, see how long it takes you to identify who the gang choose to be their Triple 9 victim and then see if you can guess how it's all going to play out.

This film sort of bumbles along through to the final act where logic finally runs out and plot points or coincidences start happening which leave you scratching your head is mild irritation.

All that said, it's not wholly awful, but by that reckoning it really doesn't have a lot to recommend it either. I'd suggest staying home and watching the vastly superior and pre-mentioned Heat, which at least has the bonus of having both DeNiro (in his last real role), Al Pacino, and Val Kilmer in its cast and one of the most incredibly crafted gun battles ever portrayed in the movies.


Tuesday, 23 February 2016


Starring Sacha Baron Cohen, Mark Strong, Isla Fisher, Rebel Wilson and Penelope Cruz. Written by Sacha Baron Cohen, Phil Johnston and Peter Baynham. Directed by Louis Leterier. Budget unknown, running time 83 minutes.

Sacha Baron Cohen is the genius behind the incredible scientific breakthru that is Grimsby. Because he has found away of prolonging life itself, or at least the appearance of extending life itself, by making 83 minutes feel more like 166 minutes.

Whether you find this movie funny or not all depends on whether or not you find forced oral sex both human and animal funny. If you do, then boy are you in for one hell of a treat! Indeed by the end of this cinematic pre-ejaculate, you'll probably have literally bust a nut through laughter. Because this film has three utterly hilarious sequences that pushes gross-out humour further than any film I've seen since 2001's Freddy Got Fingered. And like that previous film this too is as funny as anal polyps.

The plot sees two Grimsby brothers separated as young boys, one, Sebastian – Mark Strong, gets adopted, moves away and grows up to be a super spy. The other, Nobby – Sacha Baron Cohen, stays behind in Grimsby to become a loving, obese-obsessed father of 11 children and husband of Rebel Wilson. Then, after 28 years of fruitless searching, and through sheer plot point alone, Nobby tracks his brother down while the later is on a top secret mission to prevent an assassination. After that the brothers are forced to go on the run and bond all the way from Grimsby to Chile, for the World Cup Final between England and German, via South Africa. In between that are countless unfunny and cringe-inducing scenes sandwiched between incredibly gross out sequences that will make you laugh through sheer shock and nothing more.

What makes this even the more extraordinary is that Mark Strong (forever more to be known as Teflon Strong) somehow comes out of this cinematic abomination with no damage to his reputation whatsoever, indeed his acting is so against type it beggars belief and he is forced to do things in the name of paying off his mortgage that will frankly brings tears to your eyes in sympathy and shocked laughter. No sympathy whatsoever should be given to Sacha Baron Cohen who has to take full shame for this dreadful film. With no shred of irony or subtly Cohen barrels through this film like some sort of detritus-filled Tsunami of shit, delivering a sleazy performance that will leave you literally squirming uncomfortably in your seat.

The trailer which despite strongly indicaing what you're in for but still can't truly prepare you for this movie and although you will laugh, most likely despite yourself, you won't feel good about it afterwards and you'll probably find yourself washing extra hard that night in the bath to scrub the shame from your body.

Seriously all this does is prove that Sacha had one funny idea in his head (Ali G) and that was it. What this is is a gross-out spy parody which is so eager to not offend Grimsby in its portrait of that town that it thinks going from heavy insult to patronising rabble rousing makes the presentation of that town okay. Indeed, this film gets away with some serious racism by shouting, 'this is a comedy!' at the top of its lungs.

So is it any good? Well, the answer is in the title. This is Grim with a capital B, for bloody awful!


Sunday, 14 February 2016


Starring Tilda Swinton, Ralph Fiennes, Matthias Schoenaerts and Dakota Johnson. Written by David Kajganich and directed by Luca Guadagnino. Budget unknown, 124 minutes long.

Swinton plays some sort of rock goddess by the name of Marianne Lane, Matthias Schoenaerts is her suicide surviving boy friend of six years, Paul DeSemdt, Ralph Fiennes is Harry Hawkes - her ex-boyfriend of the six years prior to that and Dakota Johnson may or may not be Ralphie's 22 year-old estranged daughter, Penelope Lanier.

Lane and DeSemdt are enjoying a much needed holiday on an Italian island while she recovers from throat surgery and can't speak. Into their idyllic life barrels Hawkes and his daughter and before you can say, has Ralph Fiennes been watching Sexy Beast? he's taken over their lives and being just down right mildly irritating as he ingratiates himself back into Lane's life and we discover that he originally set Paul and Lane up when his own relationship with her faltered and now he wants her back.

After that, we watch as he digs and probes causing friction and seeding doubt while his 'daughter' does her best to fuck things up metaphorically and literally. This all trundles along until one of these charmless fuckers dies, then the film changes tack and becomes some sort of thiller as a half-hearted police investigation is launched and concluded, a piffling secret is revealed before the film sort of ends without any closure of any kind and you go home bewlidered and frustrated that you've just lost two and a half pigging hours of your life when you should have been home bastard well finishing off a cartoon strip.

Jesus H. Pigging Christ on an F-ing stick! M'lord, I was conned, I thought this was a sequel to the Darryl Hannah and Tom Hanks film, Splash. And the trailer made this look like a different film altogether, instead of the psychological thriller it promised we have four self-indulgent fuckers mopping about on holiday being sickeningly middle-class and smug.

With a jarring, soundtrack of 1970's rock tunes, predominately The Rolling Stones, this looks nice thanks to the scenery and location and has an abundance of nudity both male and female. beyond that, there's a strange 3rd act introduction of illegal migrants that seems to be there for no other reason than to try and tidy up some of the more gapping plot holes.

Leaving the viewer with more questions than answers, which I'm sure was the attention of the director and writer. This was a irritating film that just leaves you hanging at the end, leaving several massive plot points utterly unresolved.

Total art-house piss. 4/10


Featuring the vocal skills of Eli Marienthal, Jennifer Anniston, Harry Connick Jr, Vin Dissel, Christopher McDonald and John Mahoney. Based on the book by Ted Hughes, from a story by Brad Bird and a script written by Tim McCanlies. Directed by Brad Bird. Budget $70-80 million, running time 86 minutes.

On its original release back in 1999 this utterly glorious animated masterpiece was considered a flop when it bombed at the box office and that's a crime, because this is one of those rare films that's, for all intensive purposes, flawless. Considering it came out in the same year as Tarzan, Toy Story 2 and South Park: Bigger, Longer, Uncut, it could be argued that it maybe just got lost in the mix, and certainly the lacklustre marketing campaign that limped along promoting it didn't help. The argument is that Warner just didn't know how to sell it. If so, then shame on them.

The story, set in 1957 just after Sputnik has been launched, sees the Iron Giant - an intergalactic weapon of unbelievable power - crash land off the coast of Maine with a nasty head injury and no memory of what or who he is. He's found by young Hogarth Hughes, a nine-year old boy with a passion for rescuing lost animals, who realising how the huge metal robot will be perceived decides to keep him hidden from his mother – Annie, the fellow inhabitants of Rockwell – the small town he lives in – and an obsessed government agent sent from Washington to investigate reports of a giant metal man. Hogarth enlists the help of a jazz-loving sculpturist and scrapyard dealer, Dean McCoppin, to help him.

It's been years since I last saw this on DVD, let alone the big screen so the chance to catch it at my local cinema was too good to resist, especially at £2 a ticket. Wow, am I glad I went, this was simply fantastic, beautifully animated with a lovely use of CGI and directed with real subtly by Brad Bird who later went on to direct The Incredibles and Mission Impossible – Ghost Protocol and Ratatouille.

It's a wonderful film, dramatic, exciting, emotionally engaging and at times downright funny! It's perfect and deserved to be a huge hit when it was first released. Today it is considered to be a Modern Classic and beloved by all who've seen it. I Cannot think of a single thing to fault this on. If you get a chance to catch it at your local Cineworld cinema over the half-term break do! your kids will thank you and you'll leave with a smile on your face and a warm glow in your heart.

Perfect. 10/10

Saturday, 13 February 2016


Starring Ben Stiller, Owen Wilson, Will Ferrel, Penelope Cruz and Kristen Wigg. Written by, John Hamburg, Ben Stiller, Nick Stoller and Justin Theroux, directed by Ben Stiller. Budget $50 million, 103 minutes running time.

15 years have passed in Derek Zoolander's universe and it's safe to say his world has gone to shit. His wife is dead, killed by a one-tonne book, his son has been taken into care, he's lost his mojo and he's living in a cabin in the woods. But it's no better for Hansel either, hideously scared thanks to the same disaster that claimed Derek's wife, and all 10 members of his Orgy, both male and female, pregnant. Both men are desperate and when they both get invitations from Billy Zane to take part in Kristen Wiig's Rome fashion show the stage is set for a quest to rescue Derek's son, discover who Hansel's dad is and find out why several international pop stars have all been killed while pouting in a very Blue Steel way and what their connection with Will Ferrell's Mugato is.

To explain more of the plot would be both churlish, and pointless, it's convoluted, twisty, far too elaborate and ultimately unnecessary since it really doesn't matter come the end.

This is an exceedingly loud movie, the sound track BOOMS through every single frame of this film, from a generic music to set the mood to blasts of pop music. Apart from that there's not alot more to talk about.

Oh wait, I bet you want to know if it's funny? Well yes, at times it is. I counted at least four of those times when I burst out laughing, rather loudly infact. Sadly, inbetween those rare moments I just sat stony faced and waited for the  the next cameo to come by, be it Bendy Dick Currant Bun, Ping, Susan Sarandon, Katy Perry or Susan Boyle.

I have to say I have fond memories of the first Zoolander film, but this one makes me nervous to return to it in case I realise it's no longer funny. Zoolander 2 has the same schtick as the first but now it suffers from Sequel-itous, it has the same gags and tropes just done slightly differently, so you sort of remember the gag from the first film and so you kinda of chuckle at the memory. The film struts from one gag to the next and everyone seems to be having a blast making it, particularly Wigg and Ferrel but sadly that humour doesn't transfer from the screen, too often you smile at a gag or groan. That said the woman in from of us, howled through out and even gave it a standing ovation at the end to show her love for it.

Crazy bitch.

Me, I'm a little more sanguine about it. I reckon it's a rather Meh 4/10 and two of those points are for Penelope's attributes.

Should you see it? Well only if the only other option is Dead's Army.

Friday, 12 February 2016


Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Morena Baccarin, Ed Skrein, T.J. Miller, Gina Carano, Brianna Hidebrand and Stefan Kapičić. Written by Paul Wernick and Rhett Reese. Directed by Tim Miller. Budget $58 million and 108 minutes long.

Ryan Reynolds is the Merc with the Mouth aka Deadpool who earns money intimidating people before finding love with a tart with a heart before he's diagnosed with terminal cancer. He gets offered a cure and ends up having his DNA scrambled as his mutant genes are stimulated and he becomes Deadpool, the 4th wall breaking immortal gun for hire with a wacky line in humour and a red and black spandex costume who's looking for the man who left him for dead and kidnapped his grieving girlfriend.

This starts very well, with a fantastic credit sequence and a pounding action set piece, it then skips back and forth through time as we learn Deadpool's origin story and his quest to save his girl from the bad guys. The many trailers for this promise much hilarity and mirth and it's true to say that Ryan Reynolds was born for this role and he gives it his all.  It has a boundless energy and screams at the top of its lungs LOVE ME!!!! from beginning to end. Sure it's funny, there are several laugh out loud moments but I'm sorry to say that the rest of it left me kinda flat, the film starts high and then just levels off, it makes you smile, you chortle and that's kinda of it. It's brief and doesn't outstay its welcome and it's a lot better than Ryan's other comic based movies - Blade 3, Green Lantern and RIPD.

I wish I had more to say about it than that, but the true is it's sort of okay, just not as brilliant as Guardians of the Galaxy. I think doing another one of these would be one too many, but what the hell do I know?


#10 ROOM

Starring Brie Larson, Jacob Tremblay, Joan Allen, Sean Bridgers, William H. Macy and Tom McCamus. Written by Emma Donoghue and directed by Lenny Abrahamson. Budget $6 million, running time 117 minutes.

Brie Larson is Joy, a young abducted woman, locked in a soundproof shed, named 'Room', for seven years by a man known only as Old Nick. Jacob Tremblay is Jack, her five year-old son, the result of her rape, who is simply astonishing in the role. When Old Nick reveals that he has lost his job, Joy realises that if she doesn't act soon, both her and her son could end up dead and plots her escape. The film follows her plan and also the aftermath and it's not a spoiler to reveal that they escape, because the true drama of this incredible film comes from not how that escape transpires but from what happens next as Joy tries to reconnect with her estranged parents and she and Jack try to fit into a world almost terrifying as Room itself.

This is an amazing film. Beautifully written, superbly acted and directed that grips from the moment it starts and never lets up. It choked me up three times and I'm not ashamed to say it made me sob.
It's clever, engrossing and absolutely powerful and I utterly adored it. Such a life affirming film one that left me in stunned silence at its end and truly in love with it. I cannot recommend this film highly enough. See it if you can.



Starring: Bill Nighy, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Toby Jones, Tom Courtenay, Michael Gambon, Blake Harrison, Daniel Mays and Bill Paterson. Written by Hamish McColl and directed by Oliver Parker. 100 minutes far too long.

The plot for there is one, just, sees Captain Mainwaring warned his band of bungling Home Guard oafs face the axe on the same day he learns there's a German spy in his area and a gorgeous reporter from the Lady Magazine arrives in town to write a feature on him. It's also the day he learns that his troop are scheduled to patrol one of sites crucial for the forthcoming D-Day Landing. Hmm, I wonder whether any of those plot devices are some how linked?

Doing away with any logic, this sees a truly inspired cast perform substandard impersonations of the original Dad's Army cast in a film so vile and repugnant that it fills me with a seething ball of rage just to write about it. The jokes are atrocious, the inaccuracies are numerous, glaring and infuriating. This is a film less funny than a cystoscopy. At times a farce, at others a broad pantomime and then just an embarrassment, there is nothing to recommend it. Catherine Zeta Jones acts so badly she could have been in a panto and the camera loves her so much it dollops on an inches worth of KY jelly just in case it gets lucky.

This is the sort of stupid made up comedy world that believes that every single man in town will fall in love with some well dressed flirtatious bint in a red dress and throw any logic or sense out of the window in the vain belief they'll get to shag her.

There's also an uncomfortable hatred  between Mainwaring and Sergeant Wilson that feels, at time mean-spirited and loathsome.

The whole film stumbles along from one boring plot point to the next before ending up in forced final act action showdown with the spy, and a U-Boat that redeems everyone and restores the status quo.

Seriously, if you loved the original show, then give this a miss. The original movie, with the original cast is a masterpiece in comparison to this.

Dad's Army, more like Dead Army.



Starring Édgar Ramírez, Luke Bracey, Teresa Plamer, Delry Lindo and Ray Winstone. Written by Kurt Wimmer, directed by Ericson Core. Budget $105 million. 113 minutes.

Three crimes all featuring stupid extreme sports makes FBI trainee and ex-BMX bandit, Johnny Utah as played by Luke Bracey, realise that a band of extreme sportsmen, lead by Édgar Ramírez, are all trying to complete the mythical Osaki 8 - a series of extreme sports challenges that once completed will amount to dilly squat.

After that, walking, tattooed block of granite Utah infiltrates the baddies and then spends his time partying with baggy-eyed hippy chick, Teresa Plamer and the other rich shits who all seem to spend insane amounts of money robbing money of insanely rich people whilst performing insane extreme sporting stunts. Every now and then Utah meets up with Ray Winstone's Angelo Pappas - the world's most unconvincing FBI agent, who has the world's most unconvincing accent.

The best stunt in the film features the wing suits the rest of it is just bollocks. It's all just annoyingly irritating as these spoiled stupid rich kids talk bollocks about inner peace and spirituality while killing ordinary working people who offend their obnoxious ideals. It's pretentious and worst of all utterly unnecessary. There was simply no reason at all for this to be remade.

Featuring dialogue as awful as this: "What's the 'point break'?" "It's the point at which you break." and... "Ideas can be powerful." "Not as powerful as whaling boats."

Nothing to redeem it, nothing to recommend it, it's just pointless.